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Old 09-05-2017, 12:32 PM   #1
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Marina Eviction in advance of Irma

Greetings, All, long time lurker here and former trawler owner, still living vicariously thru your posts! I need some advice. A dear friend has a very large yacht (of the Ft Lauderdale charter ilk) and he just moved it to a new marina a couple weeks ago. Hearing thru the grapevine that he is going to be kicked out before the storm.

I have looked at the relevant Florida statute which prohibits eviction under these circumstances after a watch is issued. However, in the same statute, it allows for the marina to advise you to leave, and if you dont, the marina owner can move your boat, remove your boat to storage or take any other action to protect his marina. Then he can charge you for those "services" and he bears no resposibility to you if he fails to adequately secure your boat or your boat is otherwise damaged due to his actions, negligent or otherwise.

Is this an accurate reading of the statute? If so, it would seem prudent for every marina owner to ask slipholders to leave. Right? Is that what happens?

Thanks for any advice!
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Old 09-05-2017, 12:39 PM   #2
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I don't live in FL but my marina requires boats to be removed if a hurricane threatens the marina. In my case, they will haul my boat and store it in a hurricane rated building but of course there's a charge for this service. Boats that they cannot lift have to go somewhere else.

All this is in the contract that I signed. I suggest that your friend check his contract.

I would think it would be pretty unfair to not allow a marina owner to protect his property in the case of a storm.

BTW: You are asking for what amounts to legal advice on a boating forum. You will get plenty of opinions but if you want an accurate answer you should check with an attorney. One who deals with this sort of thing.
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Old 09-05-2017, 01:10 PM   #3
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But what are the boat owners supposed to do with their boats? There must be 10x more boats that there is capacity to haul and store since most boats in these areas remain in the water year round. I understand a marina wanting to minimize their damage, but it doesn't seem right to push the whole problem off on the boat owners. After all, one of the reasons we pick marinas to keep our boats safe from weather.
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Old 09-05-2017, 01:17 PM   #4
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But what are the boat owners supposed to do with their boats? There must be 10x more boats that there is capacity to haul and store since most boats in these areas remain in the water year round. I understand a marina wanting to minimize their damage, but it doesn't seem right to push the whole problem off on the boat owners. After all, one of the reasons we pick marinas to keep our boats safe from weather.
That is a problem of course, but if you signed the contract (lease), it's up to you to comply with the terms of the lease. If that requires removing the boat, that's up to you.

This is one of the reasons many insurance companies won't insure boats in FL during hurricane season.
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Old 09-05-2017, 01:20 PM   #5
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That is a problem of course, but if you signed the contract (lease), it's up to you to comply with the terms of the lease. If that requires removing the boat, that's up to you.

This is one of the reasons many insurance companies won't insure boats in FL during hurricane season.
Incorrect info for Florida.

A marina cannot make you move, even if you signed a contract saying that you will. Clearly stipulated in state law. Any such contract wording is invalid.

The state is basically saying that they prioritize life over property - boats or marinas.
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Old 09-05-2017, 01:27 PM   #6
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Incorrect info for Florida.

A marina cannot make you move, even if you signed a contract saying that you will. Clearly stipulated in state law. Any such contract wording is invalid.

The state is basically saying that they prioritize life over property - boats or marinas.
According to the law the OP read, if you don't move the boat, they can move it themselves and cannot be held responsible for damages. You are better off moving it yourself unless you want to get rid of it.
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Old 09-05-2017, 01:39 PM   #7
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I was referring to this.

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Originally Posted by WesK View Post
That is a problem of course, but if you signed the contract (lease), it's up to you to comply with the terms of the lease. If that requires removing the boat, that's up to you.

This is one of the reasons many insurance companies won't insure boats in FL during hurricane season.
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Old 09-05-2017, 01:43 PM   #8
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Most marinas in our area simply make sure the boats are well secured. What they'd typically charge for is extra lines they might put on your boat or if they remove your canvas or loose items. Also, moving it to what they feel is a safer slip. They're not going to move the boat to another marina or somewhere else as simple numbers say they can't do that. Mainly you're accountable for damage your boat causes and they aren't responsible for anything. Floating docks are preferred. Still boats can be properly secured in fixed settings, typically walls. Lifting a boat and putting it on land but not having secure hurricane ties and anchors actually puts the boat in more risk. And outdoor racks are high risk. Surge in Fort Lauderdale has never been the outrageous levels you might see in some places that have 8 and 9 foot tides already.

Here is the surge map.

http://noaa.maps.arcgis.com/apps/Map...935fad&entry=1

For Fort Lauderdale, even with a CAT 5, nothing exceeds 6'. As you move south to Dania you get a small area with 9'. Along Biscayne Bay it exceeds that.
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Old 09-05-2017, 01:45 PM   #9
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Here you all go.

327.59 Marina evacuations.—
(1) After June 1, 1994, marinas may not adopt, maintain, or enforce policies pertaining to evacuation of vessels which require vessels to be removed from marinas following the issuance of a hurricane watch or warning, in order to ensure that protecting the lives and safety of vessel owners is placed before interests of protecting property.
(2) Nothing in this section may be construed to restrict the ability of an owner of a vessel or the owner’s authorized representative to remove a vessel voluntarily from a marina at any time or to restrict a marina owner from dictating the kind of cleats, ropes, fenders, and other measures that must be used on vessels as a condition of use of a marina. After a tropical storm or hurricane watch has been issued, a marina owner or operator, or an employee or agent of such owner or operator, may take reasonable actions to further secure any vessel within the marina to minimize damage to a vessel and to protect marina property, private property, and the environment and may charge a reasonable fee for such services.
(3) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section, in order to minimize damage to a vessel and to protect marina property, private property, and the environment, a marina owner may provide by contract that in the event a vessel owner fails to promptly remove a vessel from a marina after a tropical storm or hurricane watch has been issued, the marina owner, operator, employee, or agent may remove the vessel, if reasonable, from its slip or take whatever reasonable actions are deemed necessary to properly secure a vessel to minimize damage to a vessel and to protect marina property, private property, and the environment and may charge the vessel owner a reasonable fee for any such services rendered. In order to add such a provision to a contract, the marina owner must provide notice to the vessel owner in any such contract in a font size of at least 10 points and in substantially the following form:
NOTICE TO VESSEL OWNER
The undersigned hereby informs you that in the event you fail to remove your vessel from the marina promptly (timeframe to be determined between the marina owner or operator and the vessel owner) after the issuance of a tropical storm or hurricane watch for (insert geographic area), Florida, under Florida law, the undersigned or his or her employees or agents are authorized to remove your vessel, if reasonable, from its slip or take any and all other reasonable actions deemed appropriate by the undersigned or his or her employees or agents in order to better secure your vessel and to protect marina property, private property, and the environment. You are further notified that you may be charged a reasonable fee for any such action.
(4) A marina owner, operator, employee, or agent shall not be held liable for any damage incurred to a vessel from storms or hurricanes and is held harmless as a result of such actions. Nothing in this section may be construed to provide immunity to a marina operator, employee, or agent for any damage caused by intentional acts or negligence when removing or securing a vessel as permitted under this section.
History.—s. 22, ch. 93-211; s. 11, ch. 95-146; s. 464, ch. 95-148; s. 2, ch. 95-150; s. 2, ch. 2006-309.
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Old 09-05-2017, 01:49 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by WesK View Post

This is one of the reasons many insurance companies won't insure boats in FL during hurricane season.
That is so tiresome to keep hearing. Florida is the largest market and the true marine insurers have tens of thousands of insured Florida boats, year round, no exclusion for hurricanes.

Just cruise through Fort Lauderdale and look around you. Do you think all those boats aren't insured? We had a choice of many excellent insurers to choose from.
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Old 09-05-2017, 02:12 PM   #11
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What I posted is my experience and it has also been posted on this and other forums many times.

I suspect the boats in Florida have insurance are mostly insured so there must be other companies insuring them. Since the risk is much higher, I would think the rates would reflect the risk.
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Old 09-05-2017, 02:21 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by WesK View Post
What I posted is my experience and it has also been posted on this and other forums many times.

I suspect the boats in Florida have insurance are mostly insured so there must be other companies insuring them. Since the risk is much higher, I would think the rates would reflect the risk.
But it's been misleading here and on other forums. There is no problem getting boat insurance in FL. That is a fact. Rates reflect risk, but not as much higher as you may think. The risk in Fort Lauderdale isn't significantly more than the risk anywhere on the East Coast. That doesn't mean this weekend might not be risky, but the only ones people have issues are seem to be their homeowners' insurer or car insurer that insures a few boats too.

Just because something is stated many times, doesn't make it true. Getting marine insurance in FL is not a problem. Perhaps getting it at the price you want is.
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Old 09-05-2017, 02:31 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by WesK View Post
That is a problem of course, but if you signed the contract (lease), it's up to you to comply with the terms of the lease. If that requires removing the boat, that's up to you.

This is one of the reasons many insurance companies won't insure boats in FL during hurricane season.
I agree that if you agreed to it, then you need to deal with it. But it also sounds like there might be over-riding state laws.
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Old 09-05-2017, 02:44 PM   #14
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But it's been misleading here and on other forums. There is no problem getting boat insurance in FL. That is a fact. Rates reflect risk, but not as much higher as you may think. The risk in Fort Lauderdale isn't significantly more than the risk anywhere on the East Coast. That doesn't mean this weekend might not be risky, but the only ones people have issues are seem to be their homeowners' insurer or car insurer that insures a few boats too.

Just because something is stated many times, doesn't make it true. Getting marine insurance in FL is not a problem. Perhaps getting it at the price you want is.
It seems to me that many of the snowbirds heading south in the fall time their trips to not be south of a certain point before the end of the hurricane season. They claim it's because of their insurance company restrictions.

This is what they claim and what they post. You say it is not so. I'm left scratching my head wondering who is telling the truth.

My insurance has no such restriction but circumstances keep me where I am during hurricane season. Most of it anyway.
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Old 09-05-2017, 02:44 PM   #15
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Here you all go.

327.59 Marina evacuations.—
(1) After June 1, 1994, marinas may not adopt, maintain, or enforce policies pertaining to evacuation of vessels which require vessels to be removed from marinas following the issuance of a hurricane watch or warning, in order to ensure that protecting the lives and safety of vessel owners is placed before interests of protecting property.
(2) Nothing in this section may be construed to restrict the ability of an owner of a vessel or the owner’s authorized representative to remove a vessel voluntarily from a marina at any time or to restrict a marina owner from dictating the kind of cleats, ropes, fenders, and other measures that must be used on vessels as a condition of use of a marina. After a tropical storm or hurricane watch has been issued, a marina owner or operator, or an employee or agent of such owner or operator, may take reasonable actions to further secure any vessel within the marina to minimize damage to a vessel and to protect marina property, private property, and the environment and may charge a reasonable fee for such services.
(3) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section, in order to minimize damage to a vessel and to protect marina property, private property, and the environment, a marina owner may provide by contract that in the event a vessel owner fails to promptly remove a vessel from a marina after a tropical storm or hurricane watch has been issued, the marina owner, operator, employee, or agent may remove the vessel, if reasonable, from its slip or take whatever reasonable actions are deemed necessary to properly secure a vessel to minimize damage to a vessel and to protect marina property, private property, and the environment and may charge the vessel owner a reasonable fee for any such services rendered. In order to add such a provision to a contract, the marina owner must provide notice to the vessel owner in any such contract in a font size of at least 10 points and in substantially the following form:
NOTICE TO VESSEL OWNER
The undersigned hereby informs you that in the event you fail to remove your vessel from the marina promptly (timeframe to be determined between the marina owner or operator and the vessel owner) after the issuance of a tropical storm or hurricane watch for (insert geographic area), Florida, under Florida law, the undersigned or his or her employees or agents are authorized to remove your vessel, if reasonable, from its slip or take any and all other reasonable actions deemed appropriate by the undersigned or his or her employees or agents in order to better secure your vessel and to protect marina property, private property, and the environment. You are further notified that you may be charged a reasonable fee for any such action.
(4) A marina owner, operator, employee, or agent shall not be held liable for any damage incurred to a vessel from storms or hurricanes and is held harmless as a result of such actions. Nothing in this section may be construed to provide immunity to a marina operator, employee, or agent for any damage caused by intentional acts or negligence when removing or securing a vessel as permitted under this section.
History.—s. 22, ch. 93-211; s. 11, ch. 95-146; s. 464, ch. 95-148; s. 2, ch. 95-150; s. 2, ch. 2006-309.
OK, this allows a Marina to include the relocation policy in a contract. But their obligation when relocating your boat is "to better secure your vessel and to protect marina property, private property, and the environment". So they have an obligation to the well being of your boat as well as their Marina. So they can't just cut your boat loose or beach it somewhere to protect their Marina. And no they aren't liable for your boat, but that's true no matter what. But note that the statute also says they can't act negligently when removing boats. So if they did just cut your boat loose, or moved it to an exposed location to save their dock, your insurance company or you would have a field day with them over negligence.
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Old 09-05-2017, 02:45 PM   #16
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I agree that if you agreed to it, then you need to deal with it. But it also sounds like there might be over-riding state laws.
But there is the practical world too. Marinas always have powers, with or without hurricanes, they don't exercise. Some will move boats around. Some will add lines. However, if a marina is left with 200 boats, it's not going to move them anywhere.
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Old 09-05-2017, 02:48 PM   #17
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It seems to me that many of the snowbirds heading south in the fall time their trips to not be south of a certain point before the end of the hurricane season. They claim it's because of their insurance company restrictions.

This is what they claim and what they post. You say it is not so. I'm left scratching my head wondering who is telling the truth.

My insurance has no such restriction but circumstances keep me where I am during hurricane season. Most of it anyway.

Lots of people have policies that exclude FL during hurricane season, and that makes your rates cheaper. The boater has chosen not to insure for that region during that time of year. But that's very different from being unable to insure if wanted to. You are talking about two different things.
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Old 09-05-2017, 04:15 PM   #18
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But it's been misleading here and on other forums. There is no problem getting boat insurance in FL. That is a fact. Rates reflect risk, but not as much higher as you may think. The risk in Fort Lauderdale isn't significantly more than the risk anywhere on the East Coast. That doesn't mean this weekend might not be risky, but the only ones people have issues are seem to be their homeowners' insurer or car insurer that insures a few boats too.

Just because something is stated many times, doesn't make it true. Getting marine insurance in FL is not a problem. Perhaps getting it at the price you want is.

My experience was that the bigger factor about insurance was the County and absentee ownership.

There are certain county's: Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Hillsborough (might have missed some) that will have higher rates.

No problem getting insurance.

Previous boat I kept there year around. The bigger issue was absentee ownership - I didn't live in FL. My understanding there were only two "underwriters" which would do a policy for my situation (size, value of boat, and out of state). There were multiple insurance companies which would sell me a policy - but it came back to those two underwriters.

As I was shopping quotes, actually had one well known boat insurance company tell me that both possible underwriters already had a proposal to me from differing companies.

I picked the best deal of the two and went on down the road.

Wasn't necessarily expensive. The kicker was during season, if the boat was south of Cape Hatteras and suffered damage from a named storm - very HIGH deductible.

Just my personal experience for what its worth.
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Old 09-05-2017, 05:09 PM   #19
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Note that when the docks are empty, the pilings, attachments, etc. only have to take the loads of the piers. Add a bunch of boats, and the loads increase greatly. I wonder what case the marinas use for the initial design.
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Old 09-05-2017, 05:27 PM   #20
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But it's been misleading here and on other forums. There is no problem getting boat insurance in FL. That is a fact.
You wont get one today.

I cant speak for all providers but I havent seen one write a policy with a named storm heading there.

Speaking of named storms, everyone needs to read ALL documents on the providers website. They have a nasty habit of stating named storms are not covered in sometimes hard to find documents. That includes liability.
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